This was a game that concerned me. It's was national television. It's against the best home team in the WC. We haven't played well. The Blackhawks have been on fire. A 4-3 Shootout loss doesn't feel like such a bitter pill.
I thought we played well the entire game. The Hawk loving VS color guy will be sure to come to the blog and tell me this "was a classic trap game" for the Blackhawks (was it John Ahlers?). Just like he said EVERY TIME the Blackhawks made a bad play. When they were playing well... well look at that skill. I was hoping for a nicely covered, highlight the positives of each team type of game. This guy honestly made me enjoy the game less.
Our team on ice played really well. Probably our best 5 on 5 game of the year. It looked a lot like our games last year. We limited chances (still gave up 2 breakaways) and got the puck deep and cycled pretty well.
This was a funny game for Kris Russell. He made a bad play on the PP that lead to a shorthanded goal to Versteeg. When Russell is out there with a forward on the point, I'm not comfortable. Tonight he tried to carry the puck deep... not a good call when your the only defensemen on the ice. On the flip side his rush rocket is the type of play that I've wanted for forever. The goals the last two games are ideal Kris Russell goals, the types of goals we expected from him. The healthy scratches hopefully will have the David Vyborny effect.
Steve Mason played a second strong night. He didn't give up any softies and he kept us in the game. That's his job. He was much calmer in the shootout. The infinite shootout (maybe the longest in team history). A big issue for him lately has been moving too much, opening up holes.
Rick Nash always tries to bust out a few extra fancies on national TV. Some of them did look nice tonight. I'd rather him score two ugly goals.
Antoine Vermette has continued to put points on the scoreboard. He's nearly a point per game player and continues to go to the paint for goals. You have to love that. On the other hand I think he was on the ice for both powerplay goals against... leading to the Cannon's weekly.
Penalty Kill lashing. This has to change. We gave up 2 more tonight, that was the game. We killed about 38 of our first 40 penalties on the year... if we didn't we could be the worst penalty kill team in the league. I think this is partly due to Hejda and Commodore both struggling to come back from injury. I'd split the pairs. Go Pahlsson - Nash, Vermette - Chimera, give that a whirl.
Since the Doghouse, Pahlsson has played better game. The doghouse tends to have that affect on players. He did score a goal. A terribly weak one, but they all count the same.
Mancrush: Mathieu Roy looked good in his recall. He was +2 tonight and was skating a lot better than the beginning of the year.
Doghouse: Anton Stralman will take the nod of the second straight night. 3 Minor penalties tonight. The top PP unit has had a hard time getting the puck in. Again, more positives than negatives this year.
Pulling out a point in Chicago is a nice, especially considering our recent skid. Back home Thursday for the Leafs. Predictions? Fire Away!